Hello to you all.
I know I talk a lot about the weather in these blog posts, but what can I say? I'm British. I've spent the last few days really savouring the sunshine, when I've not been at work. It's been lovely to get home when it's still daylight, to go out without a coat, and to sit in the garden or the park with just my book and a cup of coffee (I'm not that British) for company. I'm reading one of Neil Gaiman's short story collections, Smoke and Mirrors, and reading that in the sunshine to the soundtrack of birdsong makes me feel like I'm waking from hibernation. After last year, when winter went on until the end of May, I can barely believe it. We've made it through another winter. There should be badges for that.
I decided this year to give up buying books for Lent, but this week I bought two last books: The Martian by Andy Weir, and Alexander McCall Smith's latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. I've also borrowed The Never List by Koethi Zan from the staffroom mini-library, although from what I gather I have to be in the right mood for that one as it's supposedly pretty gruesome and disturbing. The Alexander McCall Smith books are the opposite: they are very sweet stories set in Botswana, easy to read in an afternoon, philosophical but ultimately a celebration of what it is to be human. The Martian is a new science fiction book that has been whispered about in several parts of the internet, (Sarah reviewed it here) and I bought it in hardback because I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss is about. After Shine, Shine, Shine, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth and most recently, James Smythe's excellent The Explorer, I can't get enough of the space stuff!
It's been busy at work this week, thanks to World Book Day, when all the kids dress up as their favourite fictional characters, and they also get a £1 book token. I don't know if the book fairs still come round to the schools: three metal fold-up bookcases in the school hall or library, where I acquired my first two-in-one Famous Five books, and later, The Cafe Club and Fiona Kelly's Mystery Kids. I remember dressing up as (of course) Anne Shirley (of Green Gables) when I was about nine, wearing a blue-and-white checked dress, straw boater hat, pigtails and felt-tip-pen freckles. I was not, however, allowed to dye my hair red. It would probably have been as successful as Anne's attempt.
I went to see the Lego Movie last night, which was completely ridiculous, but so much fun. I went into the Lego Movie without knowing much about it, and that's the best way to see it so I won't say much about it. But I recommend it for everyone - kids and parents and nostalgic adults, and definitely for those who insist on keeping each set distinct and separate. (Shudder!) The movie is a celebration of imagination, creation and play, with plenty to geek out about. ("Spaceship!") Everything is Awesome! (And try getting that theme song out of your head. You won't be able to do it.)
I did a little fangirl squeal when the Lego Movie included a tiny, blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to Fabuland, a long-forgotten Lego town peopled by animal characters, bigger than the usual minifigures, and who made up most of the inhabitants of the Lego world of my childhood. There were storybooks. They had personalities. Most of the Fabuland characters had different names from those they were officially given, and for many years my headcanon was that Edward the Elephant was married to Bonita Bunny, who had two human children, Judith and Jeremy. I was little. I didn't know, or care, about how biology worked, and who's to say what the rules are in the Lego world, anyway? I loved my Lego, and made it my own. I don't know anyone else who remembers the Fabuland creatures. That range ran for 10 years, but was discontinued shortly after I was given my sets, but it has such personal memories for me. This wasn't the Lego that takes up whole walls of the toy shops and has its very own theme parks. This was my childhood, my version of Lego - mine, my own, my precioussss...
My 27th birthday present of Lord of the Rings Lego compares only with my 3rd birthday when I was given that first bucket. I still have it; it lives by my bookcase. I think it once got put away in the attic, but like my Enid Blyton books, I couldn't keep it up there for long.